In 2013, Malvika Kalra started REHAI in Jammu with the objective to help establish respect and regard for non-humans, so that they are not treated as commodities. Animals used for experimentation, food, work and to manufacture products for human consumption are the center of the young organisation’s work.
REHAI works by building awareness on rights of animals and appealing for them to be treated with dignity. Their outreach focuses on sensitizing youth in Jammu to basic concepts of Sentience, Moral rights, and Empathy, which they believe are central to building a society which does not exploit animals.
The organisation conducts regular school- and college- outreach aimed at providing a broad perspective to animal protection, including the effects of human activities on the environment. Cruelty to companion animals, pet breeding, and institutionalized cruelty to animals are introduced to the audience, who are urged to take action, however small, to lead a cruelty free lifestyle.
An avid writer, Malvika Kalra’s weekly articles in the english daily Greater Jammu have helped draw public attention to tens of animal protection issues. Malvika is also the Living Free leader in Jammu. So far, REHAI has spread the word of a responsible and cruelty free life in schools, colleges, malls and had given out over 2000 educative booklets in the city.
An enthusiastic Malvika says, “I turned vegetarian at 15 and a vegan at 49. My son now 25 and daughter 21, made the informed decision of giving up animal products the same year as me. This is what motivated me to become an activist, as I thought everyone should at least have access to information to choose how they treat animals. REHAI came about because I felt the need change the attitude of people towards all animals. And I needed to talk to children about sentience, empathy, vulnerability and moral right. Additionally, I wanted to take up issues closer home- working horses, mules at Katra, pashmina goats, chiru, leopard/human conflict, feeding monkeys, kite flying, etc. Whatever ideas come to my mind, the first people I share with are the facilitators in FIAPO. Marking vegan foods, promoting soy to the army, making a nutritious vegan menu for hostels are some of the ideas I have bounced off them in the past’
Malvika beautifully summarises the reason behind all the effort- “I see something wrong in an overfed chicken and an underfed kid. And I want privileged people to know the connection”
This young organisation has its eyes set on big goals. Visit http://rehai.org/ to get involved.